We all know that getting a good night’s sleep is an important part of maintaining good health. Research has shown that being sleep deprived leads to issues related to hunger management, brain function, heart function, and much more. Aside from impacting our physical health, sleep deprivation can also negatively affect our emotional and mental well-being. However, knowing the importance of sleep isn’t enough to make it happen – the important thing is to create a good sleep environment and optimize the factors that make it up.
Too often people overlook the importance of how their bedroom looks like when it comes to getting quality sleep. Many use this space to watch TV, talk with their spouses about life decisions, browse the internet, and a variety of other activities that have nothing to do with sleep. It’s time to start looking at how our bedroom impacts our sleep, and find some methods to improve it.
Clean Out the Clutter
Your bedroom isn’t your office, gym or media room. To start associating it with sleep, it’s necessary to get all potential distractions out. Place your treadmill in another room, get rid of the work and computer desk, and most importantly, ditch the television. Using your bedroom as a place to perform other activities will cause your brain to associate the room with other things rather than sleep. For example, if you use your bedroom as an office, chances are you will feel busy and anxious about work when you are in your bedroom because you correlate the room with busy work. And when it comes to watching TV before bedtime, aside from keeping you awake longer as you get sucked into the story, the blue light that the TV emits can trick your body’s production of melatonin into slowing down. And speaking of distractions…
Block Out External Light
How many times have you been distracted by the flickering headlights or ambient light from outside your window? Block out curtains reduce these distractions, helping you to sleep easier and get a better night sleep. Made from heavier materials than normal curtains, blockout curtains block out more light, keeping your room dark. A dark room triggers the brain to slow down and stimulates the production of melatonin, which is the key to falling asleep. The extra thick material also helps to dampen noise, contributing further to the peaceful sleeping environment you need when you are drifting off to sleep.
Nowadays, you can find block out curtains in a range of fabrics, styles, and colours. This means, your curtains don’t have to be black to block light. If you have windows with a specific shape or size, you can opt for custom-made blackout curtains. When ordering online, make sure you leave a few centimetres extra in length and width so that no light can sneak in the room. For best results, use wraparound rods so that the curtains wrap completely around the window and lean against the wall.
Update Your Bedding
Temperature significantly affects our sleep and, of course, the bedding you use can have a considerable influence on it. Comfort is another factor that impacts our ability to sleep well – if your bedding is uncomfortable, you simply won’t be able to fall asleep quickly and have a restful sleep. Furthermore, the material of your bedding can exacerbate allergies. All these factors can disturb your sleep and therefore, negatively affect your overall health.
So, what bedding is best? The answer might be bamboo sheets. Bamboo sheets are naturally thermo-regulating, which means they do not retain moisture. Bed sheets made from cotton, for example, absorb your sweat and trap heat in the material. This causes you to sweat during the night, disturbing your sleep. Bamboo sheets, on the other hand, maintain your body’s ideal temperature all night. They are also anti-microbial, which means they are free from allergens, bacteria and dust mites – they ideal choice for sensitive skin.
Various studies have shown that using certain scents in a room can help promote good sleep. Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that uses pure essential oils to heal the mind, body and soul. What it does is, it creates an atmosphere that is relaxing and calming which can help your mind and body to wind down and fall asleep easier. Lavender is one of the most popular essential oils known to promote sleep. It helps alleviate mild insomnia and reduces anxious thoughts by altering your brain waves in order to get you in a more relaxed state. To enjoy the aromatic effects of this oil, you can apply it to the soles of your feet, wrists or palms at the end of the day, use it with a diffuser, or add a few drops of the oil to your pillowcase shortly before bedtime.
Create a Relaxation Routine
Having a relaxation routine plays an important role in your good night’s sleep. There are different ways you can relax before bed. You can try drawing a warm bath about an hour before bedtime to help you wind down and slightly raise your body’s temperature. This will trigger your sleep mechanism. You can also wind down by drinking warm, herbal teas and milky drinks, which are good alternatives to late night caffeinated cuppa or alcohol. And try swapping late-night texting or social media scrolling with a good book. All these activities will put you in the right state of mind for sleeping.